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Getting the perfect shirt fit

The fit of your shirt can make or break your outfit. Fit is the single most important aspect of your shirt, and unfortunately the proportions are different for everyone. Presuming you?re not getting a perfectly made by a tailor, you will need to try on a great many off-the-rack shirts and test different aspects of the fit. These are the main aspects of shirt fit that you need to look out for.


The way your shirt sits on your shoulders is crucial to how the shirt will look overall. The arm hole needs to sit right on the corner of your shoulder. If your shirt is too small, some of the sleeve will be on your shoulder, which will feel uncomfortable in the underarm. Alternatively, if your sleeve begins halfway down your bicep, then your shirt is way too big. This is the most important aspect of your shirt.

Collar size

Button your shirt all the way up, including the top button. You should be able to slip exactly two fingers between your collar and your neck if the shirt is the correct size. Be especially wary if it is a struggle to fit your fingers into the collar, as this indicates that you will struggle to breathe properly in the shirt. The two-finger rule holds true even if you have no intention of buttoning your shirt all the way up; it will look unflattering if your collar is too large or too small regardless.

How tight?

Tee shirts can be tight, but collared shirts of any type need to be a happy medium between tight and loose. There should be no straining of the buttons- they will fall in a perfectly vertical line in a well-fitting shirt. One way to check is by pulling all the excess fabric away from your stomach, as tight as you can without straining the shirt at all. You should have about four or five inches of extra fabric. Any more than this and your shirt will billow. You can also try twisting your body from side to side in the shirt to get a more general idea of how the chest and sleeves fit. Your motion should feel relatively unrestricted.

Sleeve length

Once you have sorted the fit of your torso, neck and shoulder length, the next most important aspect of your shirt is the sleeve length. When your arms are by your sides, the sleeve length should extend halfway down your thumb. When you extend your arms in front of you, the ends of the sleeves should hit your wrists. Speaking of sleeves, the sleeves should be neither too tight nor too loose. Try moving your arms in circles, and try bending at the elbow. If you feel overly restricted, you need larger sleeves. Also, you should be able to take your shirt on and off without unbuttoning the cuffs, but there should not be enough room for more than three fingers to fit between your wrist and the cuff.

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About Natasha Abrahams Natasha Abrahams is a writer and journalism student from Melbourne, Australia. When she is not busy with being a principal writer on Weekendnotes or skipping lectures, she can be found emptying her wallet at the nearest shopping centre. You can read more from Natasha at:

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